The EU and Party Democracy: a Story of Incompatibility?
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In this thesis, the cases of Germany and Spain are taken to show the effects that European integration, which was amplified after the economic crisis, has had on the systems of party democracy within its member states. In drawing from a combination of empirical and normative approaches, it is found that with increasing European integration, party systems in both countries have come under increasing strain. However, there is a discrepancy between member states – the Spanish party system is under significantly more pressure, with a strongly manifesting crisis in its party democracy and mounting dissatisfaction amongst its citizens. It is found that this can be attributed in part to how European Integration constrains national governments and thus erodes the representative function of parties – and has done so more forcefully in Spain. Moreover, the increased prevalence of populism and technocracy is seen to add to destabilizing of party democracy, based on their normative incompatibilities. As such, it is concluded that caution is advised before further integration in the European Union is pursued, as long as it is unclear how democratic systems can be safeguarded or reshaped.